What’s it like for an entrepreneur at Rock Health?

Clare Wylie
September 19, 2011

by Ryan Panchadsaram, Co-founder of Pipette

It’s a rush. When you join Rock Health, you become part of a larger community that’s full of entrepreneurs, advocates, institutions, and companies that work to improve people’s quality of life. Tackling health care is not easy, but by having this support system, it’s helped us validate our idea and build our product.

The best way to describe what it’s like to be in Rock Health is to view it from my perspective. From where I sit:

To the Right

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I look to the right, I can see the other companies in Rock Health. Since every company is tackling a different problem, we have an environment where everyone can be open about what they are doing and learn from each other.

If we have a question about iOS or Android development, we talk to Skimble. Gabe founded Flurry before starting Skimble with Maria. The two of them have launched a top ranked fitness app called Workout Trainer.

If I have a question on what it’s like to work with larger medical partners, I talk to Omada Health. The talented guys behind it hail from IDEO and Google and are doing some amazing things with their partners.

The companies shape what happens at Rock Health. The developers wanted a forum to discuss technical subjects, so Jackson from WeSprout kicked off a weekly brown-bag. Each lunch starts off with a mini-presentation and then a discussion. The last two talks were juicy: Asynchronous Programming Using jQuery Deferred and Tips for Building Scalable & Secure Infrastructures.

In Front of Us

 

 

 


 

 

All the teams work out in an open area, where each company has their own desk. Each desk fits 4 people and everyone has their own creative way of utilizing the space. Directly in front of the Pipette table sit the four people that run Rock Health: Halle, Leslie, Clare, and Jess.

The four of them are working every day making sure that each of the teams is getting the support they need. They are bringing in mentors, making introductions to medical partners, coordinating conferences, and putting on the weekly events.

To the Left

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are 7 breakout rooms along the left of me that are used throughout the day for brainstorming, making calls, and having meetings. These rooms are also used to hold office hours with our mentors.

Throughout the week, teams get the opportunity to meet with experienced entrepreneurs, our VC partners, medical partners and other mentors to ask them anything. We love using this time because it allows us to work through the nuances of our product and strategy with people who understand the space.

One week, we’ll be meeting with the co-founder of Guitar Hero on how we can incorporate devices into our product strategy and the next we’ll be learning from a hospital how products are evaluated and deployed. The advice we get is invaluable.

Behind Us

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rock Health office is separated by a large grey wall. In the back is a lecture-style area which can seat 30 people.

For the first 10-weeks of the program, Cooper, a product design and strategy firm, came in every Tuesday and put on a 2-hour design workshop for the teams. I loved it because it helped push us to do more research, meet more doctors, talk to more nurses, and really understand our space before designing our solution.

On Thursdays, the Rock Health team puts on workshops and speaker events. If you check out the Rock Health blog you can get a taste of what these are like. My personal favorite were the Q&A session with Eric Ries and the panel on Boards & Advisors with Linda Avey, co-founder of 23andMe, Jae Chung, founder/CEO of goBalto, Jeff Hammerbacher, co-founder of Cloudera and Abhas Gupta of Mohr Davidow.

What’s Next

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not over. We’ve got 8 weeks left till our demo day and we’re working as hard as we can. Because of Rock Health, we’ve been able to take our idea and turn it into a meaningful business. As we get closer to November, we’ll be sharing more about our product and the amazing partners who believe in Pipette and are helping us tackle readmissions.

We’re excited for the next class of companies who want to be a part of the Rock. If you want to transform health, there’s no better place to be. Applications open on October 1st.